Entries tagged with: heart healthy
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Americans eat more on Super Bowl Sunday than on any other day of the year except Thanksgiving. Here are four ways to keep from overeating at your Super Bowl party:
Eat before you go
Make yourself a healthy, filling meal before you go. You'll be less likely to graze.
Set a drink limit
Drinks aren't calorie free, and drinking, especially in social settings, can lead to overeating.
Skip the pizza
Look for healthy alternatives like carrots and other veggies. Or bring our low-cal salsa.
Make your own halftime show
Instead of sitting on the couch, go outside and toss a football.
Are you planning a Super Bowl party? Here are three dishes you can put out Sunday--guilt-free:
How far do some salmon swim to spawn? Find out the answer and other fascinating facts about this fish.
You may think the air quality index on the local weather forecast is meant only for people with heart and lung problems. Here's why everyone should pay attention.
We whipped up this simple little appetizer a few weeks ago on a trip to the beach. We were able to get fresh-caught shrimp from a seafood market and used tomatoes from our own garden. Shrimp is a great source of heart-healthy omega-3 fats and the whole-wheat baguette adds fiber. Enjoy your summer!
Serving size: About 2 slices
1 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves sliced thin
Whole wheat baguette cut into 1/2 slices
1 4 oz. package goat cheese
1 cup green onions, chopped
1 cup tomato, chopped
1 lb. steamed medium-sized shrimp (26-30), peeled and chilled
1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat and add garlic. Sauté for five minutes and remove from heat. Brush olive oil and garlic on slices of baguette.
3. Toast baguette slices in the oven for 5 minutes.
4. Layer goat cheese, onion and tomato on baguette slices. Top with two cold shrimp and serve.
205 calories, 7g of fat (3g saturated, 2g monounsaturated), 7mg cholesterol, 17g carbohydrates, 70mg calcium, 363mg sodium, 20g protein, 2g fiber, 4mg iron
There's more than one fish in the sea. And increasingly today, a lot of those fish are swimming around under the watchful eyes of fish farmers. During a recent trip to Norway, I had the opportunity to visit a salmon farm in the middle of a clear, cold fjord near historic cobble stoned city of Stavanger.
I was there because I wanted to learn more about the risks and benefits of fish raised in captivity; especially since so many people today are asking the question, "Should I buy farm-raised fish?"
The answer: It depends on the farm.
More than 1,000 years ago Polynesian settlers in Hawaii raised fish and shellfish in stone ponds built next to the sea. They fed the fish and managed water quality with moveable gates to allow the flow of the tides.
There's nothing new about fish farming, but the science of aquaculture has come a long way.
Before my trip to the salmon farm, I visited the National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research in Bergen. Scientists there conduct research to provide advice on health and safety aspects of wild and farmed seafood and health of the environment.
The institute also focuses on nutrition in the fish feed and in the fish themselves with an eye towards delivering seafood products that optimize nutrition for consumers who eat them.
The connection between feed and fish quality is strong. "We call it 'fish in--fish out'" explained Harald Sveier, a specialist in aquaculture health for the Leroy Seafood Group, "The feed we use can impact the levels of omega 3 fats in the fish as well as other beneficial nutrients such as protein, vitamins and minerals."
Fish oils are mixed into grain-based feed to provide the punch that boosts heart healthy omega 3 content in farm-raised salmon (in some cases, higher than wild salmon). But Sveier predicts a shortage of fish oils in the future with the demand created by increased fish farming,
"That's why we're researching the use of plant based omega 3 oils such as rapeseed oil," he said. "It's still an excellent source."
A key ingredient in growing healthy fish is healthy water. Norwegian regulations require that fish farmers prevent overcrowding for the health of fish and fjord. The concentration of fish per confined area of water is kept at 2 1/2 percent.
Aquaculture technicians on the Leroy platform I visited monitored computer screens that keep track of the oxygenation of the water in each pen and showed an underwater camera view of the salmon swimming around.
"If the fish are happy they will grow faster," says Sveier, "and because we're using these practices today the fish are healthier so we don't have to use antibiotics."
One sizable threat to farm-raised salmon is a tiny sea louse which attaches to the fish's skin and saps its strength. Norwegian fish farming operations, such as Leroy, are fighting back with a natural solution by introducing little fish that eat the sea lice and effectively clean off the salmon.
Salmon from Norway may not be labeled with the country of origin. Often you'll see "Atlantic Salmon" on restaurant menus or on supermarket signs indicating it could be from Norway, Canada or other north Atlantic nations.
But it could also be from Chile, where salmon farming is big business, too. Some chefs and food fans would like to see labels indicating where the farmed salmon come from--and so would fish farmers in Norway.
Related Links:How much fish should you eat for heart health? Here's the latest government fish recommendations.
Farmed vs. Wild: Our Healthy Skeptic tells you which fish is healthier.
Get our corny salmon cakes recipe.
Time for a pop quiz. Which seafood has the most heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids per serving?
You've probably heard this before: Most Americans don't eat enough seafood. Most fish are loaded with heart-healthy omega 3 fats--which is why experts used to recommend you eat 6 ounces of fatty fish like salmon or shrimp a week.
Even if you're eating 6 ounces, you're not getting enough, according to the new U.S. Dietary Guidelines. Those recommendations call for 8 ounces or about half of what most Americans are eating now.
"Avoiding seafood increases your risk of dying from a heart attack," says Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, cardiovascular researcher and professor of medicine at the Harvard Medical School. "There is a 10-fold higher risk of sudden death from heart disease. This is mind blowing."
Oily fish such as salmon (both wild and farmed), trout, mackerel, herring, anchovies and sardines are especially beneficial for heart health because of they are excellent sources of omega-3 fats, specifically eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
White fish such as cod, halibut and catfish are healthy too, but since they don't contain as much fish oil, you have to eat a lot more. It takes just two 3.5-ounces servings of salmon to average the 250 mg of EPA/DHA recommended per day. You have to eat four servings of halibut or 10 servings of cod.
Two numbers that may shift your interest in salmon and sardines compare fish with drugs.
"If you look at total risk reduction from cardiac death, fish oil consumption lowers risk by 36 percent," Mozaffarian says. "That's comparable to taking statin drugs which lower risk by 35 percent. Omega 3's from fish really should be the first line of treatment in primary prevention of cardiac deaths in the whole population."
If you love seafood, don't stop at eight ounces a week. "You can eat more to get even more benefits," Mozaffarian says.
Fish oil may even be more powerful than obesity. Research reported recently in the European Journal of Nutrition reports found that Eskimos in Alaska, who consume 20 times more fish-based omega 3's than the general US population, seem to be partly protected from the harmful cardiovascular side effects of overweight and obesity.
Research links to the heart are strong; but other associations for Omega 3's and health are just emerging including battling depression, improved immune function, joint health, brain development in children and age related eye health.
"Maybe those snake oil salesmen going from town to town in the old West were actually selling fish oil," Mozaffarian muses, "Their claims of a 'cure all' might not have been totally off base."
But before you reach for a bottle of Omega 3 pills note that eating fish will land you more than just fish oil on a plate. Fish and shellfish (exact amounts depend on species) are excellent sources of other nutrients including protein, vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin B12, selenium and iodine.
But What About the Mercury?Mercury is a heavy metal that gets into fish from volcanic eruptions and industrial pollution. Some fish contain more mercury than others, especially older and larger fish because they've had more time to be exposed to mercury.
Pregnant women and young children are advised to limit canned albacore tuna to once a week and to avoid the top four mercury-containing fish: Tilefish, shark, swordfish and king mackerel.
But there's no reason for the general population to avoid any of these fish because of their mercury content. "The benefits far outweigh the risk," Mozaffarian says.
Is the old saying about beans and your heart really true? Get the answer along with more fascinating facts about beans.
Serving size: 1 fillet; 4 servings
Salmon is a good source of omega-3 fats, which may lower your risk of heart disease. And like other fish, salmon is a good source of protein. This tasty dish is low in calories and salt.
1 tsp canola oil
1 garlic clove minced
4 3-ounce salmon fillets
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup cider vinegar
2 tsp molasses
1 tbsp dark brown sugar
2 tsp Worchestershire
1 tsp red pepper flakes
4 cups uncooked spinach
Heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and saute until just turning brown. Add salmon fillets, sprinkle with sea salt and cook on each side for about 3 minutes.
Remove from heat.
In the same skillet, add remaining ingredients through pepper flakes and heat until simmering.
Serve salmon over spinach with a tablespoon of sauce on top.
150 calories, 1g fat (0g saturated), 65mg sodium, 33g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 4g protein, 10% vitamin A, 30% vitamin C, 10% calcium
Nutrition: 227 calories, 13g fat (3 saturated, 4 monounsaturated, 4g polyunsaturated) 47mg cholesterol, 8g carbohydrate, 54mg calcium, 161mg sodium, 18g protein, 1g fiber, 2mg iron
Which automaker built a car from soybeans? Get the answer along with other fascinating facts about soybeans.
Why is yogurt easier to digest than milk? Find out the answer to this question and other fascinating facts about this ancient food.
Servings: 4 (About 4 ounces)
Here's a simple, tasty fish dish that has become a favorite in our household. Wild caught Pacific flounder is a good source of healthy omega-3 fats and is considered a good alternative by Seafood Watch.
Artichokes are loaded with potassium, which is essential for the proper function of our cells, tissues and organs. They're also a good source of vitamin C, folate and magnesium. And artichokes are a great source of fiber. One medium artichoke has 10.3 grams of fiber, more than a cup full of prunes!
1 Garlic chopped
2 Flounder filets (about 16 ounces)
1 Tbsp. Balsamic vinegar
Pepper to taste
1/2 cup pitted black olives
1 9-oz package frozen artichokes*
1/2 Cup Feta
2 Cups cooked barley
Orange slices for garnish
1. Over medium-low heat, sauté garlic in oil.
2. Add filets, sprinkle with salt and balsamic vinegar. Cook for three minutes. Flip fillets and add olives and artichoke hearts. Cook for five more minutes.
3. Remove from heat. Add feta. Serve on barley with a slice of orange.
* Canned artichokes maybe easier for you to find, but avoid seasoned artichokes because they can be high in sodium.
Nutrition: 329 calories, 11g fat (4g saturated, 5g monounsaturated fat, 2g polyunsaturated fat), 72mg cholesterol, 30g carbohydrates, 457mg sodium, 28g protein, 6g fiber, 2mg iron
Did you know the term "extra light" on an olive oil bottle has nothing to do with fat or calories? Find out what it means and other interesting facts about olive oil.
Grits aren't just a Southern breakfast food anymore. This healthy dish is perfect for dinner, lunch or breakfast.
Shrimp are a good source of heart-healthy omega-3 fats and asparagus is an excellent source of folacin, a B vitamin which helps in the duplication of cells for growth and repair of the body.
1 cup grits
4 cups water
1 tbsp canola oil
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp canola oil
one bunch asparagus, chopped
1 clove garlic thinly sliced
1/2 pound shrimp, shelled
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
Pepper to taste
1 tomato, diced
1/4 cup scallions, chopped
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Coat a glass casserole dish with cooking spray.
2. Bring water, canola oil and sea salt to boil. Add grits and cayenne and reduce heat to medium. Stir constantly. As water simmers off, add cheese and continue stirring until it blends with grits.
3. Pour grits into casserole dish and put into oven for 50 minutes.
4. While grits bake, heat oil over medium heat. Add asparagus and garlic. Sauté for 5 minutes. Add cumin, pepper and shrimp. Cook shrimp until pink on both sides.
Calories 346, total fat 12g, (saturated 3g, mono 6g, poly 3g), cholesterol 98mg, carbohydrates 38g, calcium 169, sodium 255mg, protein 21g, fiber 4g, iron 5mg
Here's some health news that is sure to horrify parents of sugar-loving kids: Teens who consumed the highest levels of added sugar (mostly from sugary drinks and processed foods) were found to have worse cholesterol and triglyceride levels than those who consumed the least. That's according to a new study published in the Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association. The findings could spell heart trouble down the road.
"This is the first study to assess the association of added sugars and the indicators of heart disease risk in adolescents," said study author Jean Welsh, MPH, PhD, R.N "The concern is long-term exposure would place them at risk for heart disease later in adulthood."
Welsh, a post-doctoral fellow at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, and colleagues used data from the National Health and Nutrition Survey (NHANES) of 2,157 teenagers (ages 12 to 18) and found the average daily consumption of added sugars was 119 grams (28.3 tsp or 476 calories), accounting for 21.4 percent of their total energy. (The teens' average daily consumption was roughly four times the American Heart Association's recommended upper limit for added sugars, which is between 100 to 150 calories, depending on energy requirements, age and gender.)
Those teens who consumed the highest amounts of added sugarwhere added sugar made up 30 percent of the day's calorieshad lower good cholesterol (HDL), and higher bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides than those who consumed the least (less than 10 percent of total calories).
The study also found that overweight or obese teens with the highest levels of added sugar intake had increased signs of insulin resistance, often a precursor to diabetes.
Welsh said she was surprised to see deteriorating lipid levels in teens, even though experimental studies have shown the same effect in adults. "It is incredible that we did see this in kids."
Welsh is not sure what causes lipid levels to deteriorate. One theory, she said, is that when people consume high levels of fructose, which is metabolized by the liver, it is more easily converted into fatty acids which raises triglyceride levels. "If that mechanism is what happens, then it makes sense," she says. "But no one had ever shown it, so we were surprised."
She warned that more studies are needed since this was a cross-sectional study essentially a snapshot in time and not a longitudinal study. For example, can exercise mitigate the effect? Do lipid levels go back to normal if added sugar is cut? Will the shift in cholesterol levels result in cardiovascular disease in the future?
It could be a while before those questions are answered. In the mean time, Welsh, a mother of four, has some suggestions.
"The first thing we as parents can do is to help kids be aware of how much sugar they are consuming, and make them aware that there may be health consequences down the line, like obesity. Educates the kids about this and help them to know how to make better choices; teach them how to read nutritional labels."Find out how to spot added sugar in food.
Makes 6 side dish servings or 4 main dish
Once called "the gold of the Incas" and believed to increase the stamina of their warriors, quinoa (keen-wah) is an ancient "grain" fairly new to the U.S. market. Quinoa is ideal for vegetarians and omnivores alike because it's a complete protein--it contains all 9 essential amino acids.
It's also a good source of fiber, magnesium (reduces heart disease risk and helps ward off migraines), manganese (good for bone health), and iron. Quinoa is gluten free, so if you're following a gluten-free diet, this is the food for you!
1 cup quinoa (cooked with all-natural vegetable broth as suggested on package *)
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper (cut into 1/4-inch dice)
1/3 cup toasted sliced almonds
1/3 cup dried apricots, coarsely chopped (7 to 8 apricots)
2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions, optional
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
Freshly ground black pepper
*The amount of broth needed will depend on your quinoa product. Read package directions for the suggested amount of liquid (it may range from 1 1/4 cups to the more likely 2 cups liquid per 1 cup quinoa). The cooking time may also vary depending on the brand you select. As a rule of thumb, the suggested time will range from 10 to 15 minutes with an instruction to let stand 5 to 10 minutes until the quinoa fully absorbs all the liquid. When fully cooked, the quinoa will "sprout."
1. Place quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse very well several times in cold water. Drain well and set aside.
2. In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a boil. Stir in quinoa, cover, and simmer until the liquid is absorbed, for the time suggested on the package. Turn off the heat and let quinoa remain in the covered saucepan until all the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is fluffy, 5 to 10 minutes.
3. Transfer quinoa to a salad bowl and fluff slightly with a fork every few minutes until the grains cool.
4. Gently stir in the bell pepper, almonds, apricots, scallions as desired, salt, cumin, and coriander until well combined. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil and honey. Stir into the quinoa mixture until the grains are well coated. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
200 calories, 7g fat (0.5g saturated), 210mg sodium, 30g carbohydrates, 3g fiber, 6g protein, 15% vitamin A, 30% vitamin C, 15% iron
If you've flown recently you may have noticed your eating options are getting better. True, fewer airlines are serving free meals on board, but there are more healthier dining options before you board.
More airports have added concessions with menus reflecting consumer demand for more salads, whole-wheat bread and even grab-and-go prepackaged vegetable crudités.
At America's busiest hubAtlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airportthe convenience store-like set up at Z Market on T, A and B concourses features refrigerated selections of entree salads, fresh sandwiches, fruit and cheese combos. You can also pick up an apple or a banana.
The sandwich options are getting healthier, too. It used to be that the average airport coffee stand offered only sandwiches on white bread. But Starbucks now offers sandwiches made on whole-wheat bread and they even include nutrition information on their packages.
If you're planning to travel this holiday season, here are a few tips for healthier eating:
Eat before you go.
Time allowing, have a good breakfast or lunch before you head to the airport, including a lean protein choice such as eggs, turkey, chicken, roast beef or fish. Protein will keep your blood sugar on an even keel for a few hours and your appetite in check so you're not desperately hungry before takeoff.
Take food with you.
Did you know most food items are okay to take through security? Leave the beverages behindyou'll have to buy those on the concoursesbut, save money, time and trouble by bringing your own sandwiches or healthy snacks such a nuts, dried fruit, whole-wheat crackers and hard cheese.
Note that the Transportation and Safety Administration provides a list of foods on its website that are not allowed, including creamy dips, soft spreadable cheeses and peanut butter. They fall into the disallowed category of "gel-like substances."
A special note on the TSA's website informs travelers: "You can bring pies and cakes through the security checkpoint, but please be advised that they are subject to additional screening." Guess that's if the chocolate cake you're bringing to grandma's house looks especially delicious.
Related Links:How to make healthy eating choices at the food court
Frequent flyer? Find healthier options on the road.
If you've recently eaten at Panera Bread, a 50-year-old restaurant chain with more than 1,400 locations, you may have noticed the calorie counts on the chain's menu. Some of the information could cause your jaw to drop:
• 430 calories fro a cinnamon crunch bagel
• 720 calories for a Smokehouse Turkey panini
• 1040 calories for a Italian Combo sandwich
If the fact that one sandwich can have 1040 calories (not including the drink and potato chips) seems shocking, get used to being shocked. The new health care reform law will require restaurants to own up to the calorie counts of the food on their menus. Panera is just ahead of the curve.
A few municipalitiesmost notably New York Cityalready require restaurants to display some nutritional data on their menus, an effort to educate consumers and allow them to make healthier eating decisions.
So far, the evidence is mixed as to whether menu calories will make a difference in eating habits. In New York, researchers found that people weren't ordering less calorie-laden foods from restaurants but they were visiting cafes less oftenwhich could be a sign of calorie-conscious decision making or the bad economy.
Some people are glad to see calorie counts: It makes it easier to eat out with diabetes or stick to a weight-loss diet.
But calories don't tell the whole story about nutrition. In fact, restaurants need to provide much more information before consumers can make a true "healthy" choice.
For example, some salads may have more calories than a cheeseburger. But that doesn't make the burger a healthier pick. The salad may have has less saturated fat and sodium, along with more fiber and nutrients.
Restaurants, already bristling at putting calorie counts on their menus, aren't likely to voluntarily add information about saturated fat, sodium or dietary fiber. But as a consumer you can still use the calorie information to make good eating decisions. Here's how:
1. Make an educated guess as to where the calories are coming from. Not all high-calorie foods are created equal. Some fruits, for example, are high in calories but contain important nutrients. A salad could get a lot of their calories from added fruit. On a hamburger, the calories are coming from the bun, the condiments and all the unhealthy saturated fat.
2. Cut the calories in half by reducing portion size. Restaurants often serve gigantic portions. Either order a smaller serving (the half-sized Italian Combo sandwich at Panera Bread only has 570 calories) or ask the restaurant to put half your order in a take out box. Find more tips on how to eat out without gaining weight.
3. Use common sense when comparing items. You don't have to be a registered dietitian to know that green leafy vegetables are better for you than a burger and fries, even if the salad has more calories. Salads become nutritional hazards when you add lots of toppings and creamy dressings. But you can make a restaurant salad healthier by opting for a vinaigrette and skipping the croutons and cheese.
Finally, you can learn more about a restaurant's menu before you dine. Many big chain restaurants put their nutritional information online. As Everwell's registered dietitian says, the more you know, the more you can eat.
Related Links:How to dine out on a diet
Makes 3 dozen small wontons; serving size: 3 wontons
Looking for a new twist on a traditional Thanksgiving treat? Turn your sweet potatoes into bite-sized treats. Sweet potatoes are loaded with beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A, an antioxidant, in the body. Vitamin A is good for the immune system, cell development and eye health.
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
1 garlic clove minced
1 tsp canola oil
2 to 3 sweet potatoes baked and skinned (enough for 3 cups)
1/4 cup greek yogurt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp molasses
Low sodium soy sauce or stone ground mustard
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray.
2. Sauté garlic and onion in canola oil until onion is translucent. Combine with potatoes, yogurt, cinnamon, vanilla and molasses. Stir or whip until smooth.
3. Put one tbsp of sweet potato mix in the center of a wrap. Top with a pecan, then fold corners of wonton wrap to center. Seal wonton with egg white. Place on baking sheet.
4. Bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees.
5. Serve with soy sauce or stone ground mustard.
157 calories, 3g total fat, 2mg cholesterol, 28g carbohydrate, 45mg calcium, 163mg sodium, 4g protein, 2g fiber, 1mg iron
Servings: 10; about 1 cup
This Texas-inspired chili recipe is loaded with fiber and nutrients. The spinach blends well and adds more vitamins and minerals. You can make this chili vegetarian by leaving out the beef or substituting tofu crumbles.
Editor's Note: Salsa, canned beans and canned tomatoes can have a lot of added salt. We use dried beans in this recipe, but you can also buy low-sodium canned beans (1 16 oz. can equals about 1 cup dried) to speed up the process.
1 minced garlic clove
2 cups finely chopped onion
1 tbsp canola oil
4 cups of chopped spinach
1 lb. lean beef stew meat
1 cup dried navy beans
1 cup dried black beans
1 cup dried kidney beans
2 16-oz cans of low-sodium chopped tomatoes
1 16-oz jar of chunky low-sodium salsa (like Newman's Own)
1 tbsp chili powder
1 16-oz bottle of dark beer
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Cover beans with water and soak overnight. Discard water and rinse beans.
2. In a large, heavy pot, sauté onion, garlic and spinach in canola oil over medium heat. When onion is translucent and spinach is wilted, add stew meat and brown.
3. Add beans, tomatoes, salsa and chili powder to pot. Stir, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Add beer, salt and pepper and let simmer for another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
291 calories, 5g total fat, (1 g Sat Fat, 3g monounsaturated fat), 45mg cholesterol, 35g carbohydrate, 101mg calcium, 390mg sodium, 24g protein, 11g fiber, 5mg iron